Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom yesterday won the right to get his hands on HK$330 million in assets frozen in 2012 by the Hong Kong courts, but the victory was short-lived as a High Court judge immediately reimposed a restraint order. This means that the assets, belonging to Dotcom's now-defunct Megaupload website, remain under lock and key but his legal team can now seek exceptions to the order. The initial order in 2012 was made ex parte, which meant Dotcom, who turns 41 next month, was not given the chance to argue against it. Negotiations will now take place between Dotcom's legal team and the Department of Justice to determine the conditions of the new order, which could include limited access to money for ongoing legal fees and living expenses. The assets freeze was sought by Hong Kong justice officials who acted on behalf of the US government under a mutual legal assistance agreement. Shortly after the ruling, Dotcom posted on his Twitter account: "Glad that Hong Kong isn't part of the US puppet show. This is the turning point!" Dotcom - who moved to Hong Kong in 2003 and rented a penthouse suite at the Grand Hyatt in Wan Chai - is currently on bail in New Zealand ahead of an extradition hearing next year. US prosecutors claim Megaupload, a Hong Kong-registered company, and its founders engaged in mass copyright fraud for more than five years, earning upwards of US$175 million. They want Dotcom and his associates to face trial in the US on charges of internet piracy, copyright breaches and money laundering. In his ruling, Deputy High Court Judge Mr Garry Tallentire said the US government had made a "serious and demonstrable error of judgment" when it failed to tell its counterparts in Hong Kong about the legal hurdles it faced in pursuing Dotcom, a key one being the ability to serve him with a summons. "These difficulties were and are live and relevant," Tallentire wrote in his judgment. While the application to freeze Dotcom's assets was flawed, it was "not a calculated act of deception" and, given the merits of the case, Tallentire immediately re-granted the 2012 order. He also awarded costs to Dotcom's legal team, which means the US government will pay Dotcom's legal fees incurred while trying to unfreeze the assets. Outside the court, one of Dotcom's lawyers, John Rhie from Quinn Emanuel, welcomed the decision as it "rights a fundamental wrong against Megaupload in Hong Kong and is an endorsement of Kim's position that he has been treated unfairly by the US authorities". A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said despite the order being lifted, the court did find "sufficient grounds" for it to be reinstated. On January 20, 2012, more than 100 customs officers raided homes and offices in Hong Kong linked to Megaupload and seized computers and servers as well as HK$300 million in bank savings and investments. On the same day, New Zealand authorities staged a dramatic raid to arrest Dotcom just as he was about to extend his rental contract with the Wan Chai Grand Hyatt, where he lived with his then-wife, Filipino ex-model Mona Verga, and their young children.